The True Howl of the Soul

Do you ever just need to shut up shop and close the world out for a little bit? Let your soul recover from the daily onslaught of life? Here’s my life right now…

My top front door lock broke and locked me and Boyface out. A pane of glass in the door had to be smashed for us to get back in.

I have two pairs of shoes. One for work and one for casual. Both pairs have holes in.

My boiler broke.

My tv broke.

My phone partially broke.

My mum has been having radiotherapy for one of her tumours because it was pressing on a nerve. It’s left her in a lot of pain.

I took time off work to look after Boyface during the school holiday because my mum obviously wasn’t well enough to have him, and I can’t afford other childcare. It was so amazing to have the extra time to hang out with him but I’ve lost wages for it.

And this, on top of life, means I can’t afford to get anything fixed (apart from the boiler which was down to the landlord). Plus it’s Boyface’s birthday coming up!

The biggest, soul crushing, howl inducing thing to add to the list though… my sweet, amazing, darling boy, is an emotional wreck because his father doesn’t want to be a parent.

The Wife bullies our kindhearted little boy. One night when he was there, Boyface was crying in bed because he wanted to come home. The Wife went upstairs and simply told him to shut up. This memory still reduces him to a wet faced, snotty, blubbering mess. Another time, Boyface happily said that he has the best mummy in the world (I must be doing something right) and The Wife said “No you don’t. I’m the best mummy in the world and you’re not mine”. She even flips out at him if he wears odd socks. What sort of fucking weirdo is she?

Boyface and I both tried speaking to his dad about everything and his dad punished him by dropping contact. He’s dropped it to 4 hours a month and doesn’t call or text in between. Didn’t even bother on Christmas Day.

Boyface now doesn’t want to see his dad anymore as he feels bullied by them both. My gorgeous happy-go-lucky monster is what he calls “sangry” – sad and angry at the same time.

Tonight he jumped onto my lap and cried and cried and said he thinks his dad hates him and he must have done something wrong to make his dad feel like that. How the hell am I supposed to respond to that? I don’t want to badmouth his dad because Boyface is young enough to still very much see his dad as a part of him. But I have to try and explain the man’s flaws so my lovely little one can see it’s not his fault.

So today I was strong. I did everything I had to do. I took Boyface to the park to see his friends, I did the laundry, I did spellings with Boyface, I made sure he bathed, I cooked him a good dinner, I read with him, and I hugged him so tight. I listened to him. I reassured him as best I could. I hugged him some more. I made him laugh. And when he was smiling, I put him to bed.

Then I stopped being strong.

I shut the door, I switched my phone off, and in the silence I cried. I let my soul howl.

It howled for my boy’s pain. For my mum’s pain. For struggling to pay bills. It howled for being a single parent.

And tomorrow, I will be fine. I will be strong again. I’m resilient. This is just life.

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Inequality of depression

I saw something on Facebook saying to be patient over Christmas with loved ones who have depression and to not make them feel bad as they’d rather be happy.

I get that.

Depression is a vile illness, but as I’ve said before, it impacts on so many more people than just the sufferer. People who love people with depression also need support and understanding and there is none.

So here’s my (tongue in cheek) public service announcement and reminder to remember the unseen side…

People who love people with depression have loved people with depression all year and it’s been really fucking hard. They would like one day of happiness without Depression overshadowing everything so please bear this in mind when they don’t want to indulge the Depression quite as much over the Christmas period.

Having said that… at this moment in time, Mash and I are in a good place. The antidepressants are working… for now. But for those of you, fighting a battle that you’re not allowed to talk about because it’s insensitive and selfish, I feel you. I’ve got you. I get it. Just as we are asked to respect their distance from happiness, ask them to respect our distance from Depression. Just for one day.

Still love them. But love you as well ♡

Merry Christmas to everyone… including those fighting any kind of a battle.

Sending warmth, and love, and hope. Xxx

This time of year

I feel so much on my guard and like anything could be happening as I’m 100% separate.

None of this is new.

What is new is there is no ‘addiction’, no ‘depression’, no ‘sharing a house with dad’, but… Nothing has changed.

We’re not together and I can’t figure shit out. I’m clueless and oblivious and have no idea about anything.

Absolutely everything has changed, yet, absolutely everything is the same.

How many years am I going to waste?

How long will I resent this time of year?

How much will I end up resenting you?

Shrivelling heart

I told Mash I can’t speak to him anymore.

Right after I said it I stumbled across this thing about invisible burns. How someone touching your arm doesn’t hurt but if you have second degree burns it’s agony. I’ve got 4 and a half years of invisible rejection shaped burns covering me so the slightest thing from Mash is too much.

I don’t know if I’m coming or going with the guy.

One positive is that this has caused him to finally make an appointment with his doctor to talk about starting back on antidepressants. I’m so relieved. But I can’t help but think… If only he’d listened to me months ago. I wouldn’t have had to go through months of torture. A selfish standpoint? Probably.

My heart is currently held out in front of me and Mash watches as it shrivels.

Depression or not, I’m not going to beg him to love me.

I deserve as much as every person in this world does. Perhaps when he’s on medication he’ll be able to give it to me?

I doubt he’ll ever let me in though. I’ll never get to meet his family.

I love him with all that I am but it’s time to look after me.

Brain Implosion

Isn’t it weird how a situation is just a situation and you think nothing of it… and then you talk to someone and explain the situation and as you’re talking you’re just thinking… “What. The. Fuck. If someone said this to me I’d think it was absolute bullshit!!”… but you keep talking. Because it’s just the situation. And you hope they’re not thinking what you’d be thinking if you were them because otherwise your brain might implode… “A brain implosion is fine but please not today. Not here and not now. Let me prepare myself for it first”.

So you finish talking but ramble through as quickly as possible and then run away to some imaginary important thing because then if they were thinking what you’d be thinking then you won’t have to know. And next time you see them you can avoid the subject. It’ll be perfect.

This was my moment at work last week when someone asked me how things are with Mash.

“We’ve split up but we’re still talking and I still email pictures to make him smile every night. He isn’t functioning enough to be in a relationship but wants me to stick around anyway. Nothing has really changed, we just don’t have the title anymore…”

Shit.

I don’t know if I’m being supportive or being played.

Brain implosion preparation commencing…

An Open Letter to My Son’s Father Dearest

Our boy goes back to school tomorrow! New uniform, new shoes, new backpack. He’s excited to go into Juniors but a bit nervous at the increased workload and the teacher has a reputation of being strict!

I appreciated your offer of help with childcare through the 6 week holidays. Childcare is so ridiculously expensive and there’s no way I could have paid for more than I did and there’s no way I could have taken more than the 3 weeks off work!

I always thought parenting was about doing it together- whether the parents were together or not. We were absolutely smashing it! Do you remember my friend saying to us that we were showing everyone how it was done? Absolute equals in raising our amazing child. We managed to forget the shitty parts of why we didn’t work and we put it to one side. Our son was more important than hanging onto the past. We were a tag team. When one of us needed a break, the other was there.

Our boy used to so love seeing you. It was the highlight of his week! Well, it was twice a week, wasn’t it? Overnight every Saturday and dinner on a Wednesday. Then you’d bring him home and put him to bed before going on your way. Plus the phone calls every day you didn’t see him! He had a real man he could look up to and aspire to be like.

You truly were the best dad I could ever have wished our boy to have. And then your priorities changed. You met your now wife and refused to step foot inside my home anymore as she deemed it to be “inappropriate”. The one time you did, though, was to scream at me that our beautiful toddler had to meet the now wife right away as it wasn’t fair to keep her separate. You’d been together a month. When I said no, you headbutted my door. Do you remember that? Do you remember our boy screaming in terror? How he hid behind me, shaking and crying? How, while crying myself, I had to manhandle you out of my house?

You and your now wife would have screaming matches and she’d trash your house – in front of our boy. Once she was pissed at you so went out and bought our boy a magazine just so she could snatch it back from him and tell him he wasn’t allowed it. Do you remember how you and our precious boy turned up at my front door, both of you in floods of tears, and I comforted you? I told you it would be ok and that you had to look after yourself.

You guys broke up so many times. Remember when she said if you didn’t get back with her she’d kill herself? Our boy wasn’t safe to be around the two of you together. But you chose her.

You went months without seeing our son and then you took me to court for access… that you had chosen not to have! By this point you’d been with Wifey for a year and a half. You got alternate weekends, shared Christmases, and a week during summer holidays. You didn’t get any contact rights for our boy’s birthday, though, as you’d chosen to miss one and booked your honeymoon across the next.

Let’s not forget that our son wasn’t invited to your wedding, either.

It’s a shame that over the 6 week holiday this year you only managed to do 26 hours with our son. I say “you”, but obviously I mean Wifey, who did most of it. It’s a shame she was so horrible to him he doesn’t want to see her again. And it’s a shame you’ve taken her word over our boy. Again.

It’s a shame you’ve let your now wife push him out of your life so much that you only see him 3 hours every 4 weeks… despite the court order!!

It’s a shame you can’t see our boy’s incredible heart. His true sense of self. His sharp sense of humour. His quiet intelligence. His awesome art skills. Boyface is an absolute joy to be around and is such a genuinely cool person. When I have a day off I’m so excited to spend it with him!

You just see a burden. Well, you might not but, that’s how you make him feel. That’s not right, is it? Did you know you haven’t phoned him in 5 months?

I started writing this because I was so angry. Angry at not having someone I can tag in when I’ve had enough. Angry at you for only paying peanuts in maintenance so I can’t pay for childcare to go and have a break at work during the holidays! You earn an absolute fortune but, yet again, it’s down to ME to provide for OUR son. And more than anything, I am angry that our son no longer has his dad. I wanted to yell and scream at you because it’s not fair I take all the shit when I’m the one doing all the work!

Raising our boy on my own is so fucking hard. I adore him. We have absolutely amazing times! But guess what? He’s human AND he’s a kid AND he’s fucked up from not having his dad around. Today has been hell so I wrote this because the last time I emailed you, you reported me to the police for harassment (My God were they apologetic)!

But writing this… I’m not mad anymore. I may find it hard and exhausting and may cry with frustation when yet another discipline attempt is batted back to me with a “try again, mum”… but I know our son. And our son loves me and he knows that my love for him is unconditional and that I will never ever walk away.

This is my (accidentally very long) open letter to you.

I hope you see it. I hope you remember the man you once were. The man that our boy still hopes will come back to him.

Until then…

The Bones of Mash

Mash is my favourite person apart from Boyface. That can sometimes switch around a bit though, if Boyface is being an absolute bug 😉

I met Mash online. He messaged me and as soon as I saw his profile I knew he was the one I wanted. Beautiful, funny, adventurous, and smart.

Our conversations were the most random and bizarre you could possibly imagine. ‘Twats in tweed’ taking over my home town for horse racing, hedgehogs being guard dogs, hooker-napping, anything and everything obscure (this was a tactic I’d developed during my time online dating to weed out the guys who would think I was an absolute weirdo once they got to know me so I didn’t waste my time). Mash was AWESOME. He had me in absolute stitches, genuinely one of the funniest people I had (and still have) ever spoken to in my life.

We never stopped talking or laughing or eating bacon butties… it was all so simple and easy and all we felt was happiness and love.

A few months in, that all changed. Something happened. I’m not going to say what “it” was because I, to this day, love the bones of this guy. What I will say is that it all ended in a huge explosion. We didn’t speak for weeks. I drank wine, I sang badly to myself, I did a bit of a Bridget Jones. I saw friends and I started to recover. And then, all of a sudden, Mash rang me. I remember seeing his name flash up on my phone and wondering if I had more than one Mash stored in there. What. The. Fuck??!

He asked to come and see me and I reluctantly agreed. He came over one evening, he apologised for what had happened, and he was genuine. He offered answers. I mocked him and I shouted at him. He let me (I was somewhat justified).

We slowly started talking again. As friends. Mash was having a hard time with depression and I wanted to help him. I’ve never had depression so I can’t imagine what it’s like but I knew I didn’t want him to suffer. I was there for him to talk to, I sent him funny pictures and jokes, I made him a Smile Jar (a big jar full of folded post it notes with happy things/memories written on). He started taking antidepressants and slowly he got better. His soul shone through and the Real Mash returned. We got back together.

Mash told me he was addicted to marijuana. He wanted to get proper help for it because he knew it was an addiction and knew it was doing him harm. I’d been oblivious because of my lack of sense of smell and having never seen him roll a joint or act stoned. I helped him look at rehab centres and it made me doubly certain he’d not have anything at all to do with Boyface.

In the meantime, we carried on seeing each other when Boyface was asleep in bed or with his Father Dearest. Mash is such an incredible human being, he makes me, my heart, and my soul sing. He’s beautiful inside and out. Deep down, in his bones and into the core of him, he exudes love and warmth and humour and intelligence. He is the sort of person that everyone should have in their lives in some form or another.

Over the last however long, (2 and a half years?) since that point, we’ve had some mind blowing experiences. Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells is my absolute highlight plus 2 other trips to London. Nights out and nights in and everything in between. Mash knows how to live and he knows how to love.

Mash got clean. He’s now a recovering addict and I’m the proudest woman in the fucking WORLD. He did it!!!! If anybody deserves to have a life and a future it is without a doubt him ♡

Loving someone who has depression AND is an addict is fucking hard though. It’s exhausting and draining and it requires a level of selflessness that I have been really struggling with. Things have been really rocky for us this year.

I struggle to look at just the positives and I can be demanding and hard work and I can be negative and bitchy and probably unappreciative.

We’re at a point now that we have split up again. Mash is working on himself and getting to a point he can function and be happy and not have the horrible black cloud hanging over his head all the time. Mash needs to be happy. Mash needs to be ok before we can be ok.

At the moment, everything is in the air and on hold once again.

This man, my Mash, is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. We’re still an open book. It may be the end for us but the reason for this post is people don’t discuss the shit parts of their relationships. Love isn’t always easy. It can be easier to give up and walk away in the hope of finding an uncomplicated love.

Love is hard. Love takes work. And my reason for posting this is because I feel our story is one worth telling.

The soul and spirit and bones of my Mash are worth sticking around for.

Cross your fingers for a happy ending ♡

Life is a messy beast

Growing up, adult life looks so simple. Independence, freedom, and your own money… Wicked 😎 Until adulthood becomes a very real possibility looming over you and you decide that actually you want to stay a kid forever! Or that was me, anyway 😁

Further down the road I accidentally became an adult. It definitely wasn’t intentional. (Maybe this was where I went wrong?) I think it happened somewhere in amongst raising a baby human? I just looked at myself one day and thought… “Shit. I’m supposed to be the ‘responsible adult’ to get permission from before anyone does anything expensive or stupid.” Totally took me by surprise.

I’m 30 (and a half) and this realisation still hits me sometimes. Life is messy, man! Nothing makes sense and it’s all a bit mad!

Going back to what I used to (naively) find exciting about being an adult… but from my current perspective. As a really really old kid. Everything is soooo contradictory!! You can’t have independence or freedom or money unless you work at least one job. So, straight off, it’s a total catch 22.

And if you have kids? Or even one kid? Ha! It’s hello to zero independence or freedom or money EVER. Well, for 18 years (if they move out on time). But that one’s kind of ok because kids can sometimes make you think none of that other stuff matters. That definitely helps when they do that.

Other stupid messy things happen when you’re a grown up too. Like Love. What the fuck is that about?! Loving your kids is great and fine and lovely (although when they’re being little shits you might wonder how much you’d get if you sold them). Actual romantic Love, though, just seems silly. You pick a person you think is lovely to speak to and lovely to look at and then, if they like you back, promise to not pick any other people. But in the meantime you put up with all sorts of shit from each other and openly risk getting screwed over all because you promised to both be nice! Maybe evolution hasn’t quite nailed this one yet? Or maybe I’m just a cynical beastie at the moment 😉

People. I do not understand people. I don’t know if I’m missing something or maybe I’m broken in some way? I’ve no idea! A lot of people seem to LOVE drama. Like, they go out of their way to find it. On purpose. Making crap up about each other and never saying what they really mean or how they really feel. Thriving off arguments and knowing that friends of friends had a big juicy row in the pub last night… Isn’t life dramatic enough? Or is that just my insane life? I don’t know. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand them!

And why can’t we be ourselves? I’m getting a haircut. Lush long layered hair with an undercut on one side. I’m super excited because that’s my favourite way I have EVER had my hair. Gorge!!! I was talking about it today and was asked “Aren’t you worried that men won’t find you attractive?” I genuinely had to stop and check if this person was serious. When they confirmed that they were, DEFINITELY SERIOUS, I calmly said no, I am not worried by that in the slightest and haven’t even thought about it because if someone doesn’t like me for me then they can screw off . This person then asked me what Mash would think of it so I explained that Mash knows I’m an oddball and will accept my hair however the hell I have it… because I’m still me!!

Maybe the drama and the lack of being ourselves are linked? Maybe people enjoy drama because it makes them feel better about themselves? I don’t know. It’s confusing and it’s messy!

People of the world… Know your self worth. You are fucking awesome JUST AS YOU ARE.

Other shit happens too. Really horrible shit. People get sick. People break your heart. People disappoint you. But we’re in such a vivacious world surrounded by inconceivable beauty, hopes and dreams that are completely unstoppable, it’s a seriously cool place to be…

I don’t understand life. Not any of it. But my God do I love it ♡

Oxygen mask

My friend and I are both in relationships with people who have depression so sometimes it’s quite interesting comparing notes and talking about various information and real life stories we stumble across.

One thing we stumbled across a few days ago was about how to love someone with depression. These things are actually pretty rare to come across (let alone something about how to survive loving someone with depression – which has been my main inspiration for starting this blog). It was quite “softly softly” but did say that people who love people with depression should remember the airplane safety regulations and put their own oxygen mask on first. My friend’s translation of this was put your own mask on and then put the mask on the person suffering from depression, as if they were a child. My translation was I’m responsible for keeping myself alive and my man is responsible for keeping himself alive, depression or not, because he’s a grown up too.

I think our different takes on such a small thing made us both stop and think. My friend that maybe she should consider herself more often (hopefully) and me that maybe I can be too harsh?

I think there are a lot of reasons we think so differently though. My friend has been in her relationship for 15 years and I’ve been in mine for 4. Her other half has always struggled with depression, but generally refused help until relatively recently, and now he’s on medication and is actually able to function normally most of the time. Things are on the up!! Yay!!! 😃 Me? I’m the one waiting. My other half has been on antidepressants 3 times that I know of, twice during our relationship and once before, and they’ve always helped him enormously. Until he feels better and decides that his own wisdom is the best advice in the whooole world and stops taking them. Because why not? 🤔 This time around though, it’s different again. Let me explain…

Earlier this year my other half did a 4 week stint in rehab for cannabis addiction. Now, this sounds fucking stupid, I had NO CLUE he smoked weed until a year and a half in to our relationship. I have no sense of smell, his eyes were never pink when I saw him (all of twice a week) because he was so used to smoking it, and I never ever saw him roll a joint 😕 Anyway.

He was told when he first sought help for his addiction (2 and a half years ago now) that his depression was drug induced. Therefore, quite logically, he expected to come out of rehab all happy and shiny and surrounded by fucking rainbows and singing bunnies or something. But actually life was waiting for him. And life can be really REALLY fucking hard. Especially with all the shit he had waiting for him 😟 Now, I’ve done some research into this and it is apparently exceptionally common to suffer from depression after rehab at the best of times. Rehab is without doubt the single greatest thing he ever has or ever will do with his life. He actually has a chance of a future now and that is ridiculously AMAZING and I couldn’t be more proud of him! But one fucking SHIT fucking BOLLOCKS thing to come out of it is that he no longer “believes in mind altering substances”. Including antidepressants.

I would at this point like to emphatically say that THIS IS NOT AN NA (narcotics anonymous) SAYING OR BELIEF. It is just my beautiful fucking arse of a boyfriend thinking he knows best!!!!! I did point out that the particular mind altering substances mentioned in our conversation are specifically designed to alter the fucking brain because it’s not quite firing right. Sometimes the brain needs a little help, right? I had a chest infection, it didn’t clear up on its own, I took antibiotics and I got better. Medicine and science have created these things to help us. We don’t have to suffer in silence because the help is there. Unless you don’t want it.

My boyfriend… we need a name for him… let’s call him Mash. Like the potato. Ok, so, Mash hasn’t stayed over at my house in over a year. I am a single mum and because of Mash’s exotic taste in tobacco, I’ve not allowed him to get to know Boyface (not The Boy’s real name, don’t worry). Mash was only allowed to stay over once a fortnight while Boyface was with his Father Dearest. For whatever reason that then stopped at the start of August last year. When I asked why? He said he hadn’t even thought about it. Charming, huh? I still don’t have an answer, either.

You know what else is fucking weird? I’ve never been to his house. Ever. I know he’s not married or cheating or anything like that (I used to be a professional online stalker) but it is still fucking weird. And it’s because his depression makes him hate everything about his life, so because he lives with his dad, that means…….. I don’t know… I’ve never managed to figure that one out but probably something along the lines of he thinks I’ll judge him for it?

Goalposts for going to his house are constantly changing. The latest was after our first session of couples therapy. We went to couples therapy for about 3 months before her telling us Mash needs to sort himself out before we can fix us (which I’d been saying for months) and she won’t see us anymore. And I’ve still not been to his damn house! I just want to know what it looks like so when I talk to him I can picture where he’s sat. Stupid shit like that! Our therapist even told him he should speak to his doctor and start taking antidepressants because right now he has no quality of life. She spoke sense and I will forever love that woman ♡

Right now, in my life, I am a single mum who gets a break for about 3 hours a month (the Father Dearest is a piece of shit and keeps dropping contact).

My mum has metastasised breast cancer throughout her whole body and is undergoing treatment. I’m the only member of the family close enough and physically able to look after her when she needs it. Thankfully it’s not too horrendous at the moment and the hardest thing is that she’s acting like an absolute dick 😂

I’m working 2 jobs, neither of which are what I want to be doing, one of which is for my mum and her little business.

My house has no bathroom floor, is full of damp and woodworm, and my lovely landlady couldn’t give less of a shit! (We hit the 3 month mark for no bathroom floor a week or so ago. It’s ok though, we have ancient sticky back yellow tiles on damp/crumbling concrete and a manhole cover to stand on!)

But still, every night right before I go to sleep, I email Mash a funny picture so he’ll smile when he wakes up. One smile a day means there’s hope, right? I offer advice and suggestions and take a constant onslaught of rejection in every form imaginable, and still, I’m waiting on the outside, on my own.

3 weeks ago I decided I had to put my oxygen mask on. Mash yelled at me when I expressed a feeling of insecurity and it was wrong. I’m human too. I have feelings and opinions and I’m just as fucking valid as every single person on this earth. I shouldn’t be punished for being human. A very fucking patient and understanding (and awesome) human, at that. So I broke up with Mash. I told him I wasn’t taking it anymore. I’m done being used as an unintentional verbal/emotional punchbag. I want to be with someone who actually wants to be with me and can express that. I don’t think that’s particularly too much to ask! To be fair to Mash, he understood exactly what I was saying and why I was saying it.

He’s decided to start therapy for just him, we’ve stayed in touch, we went to our final couples therapy session despite having broken up.

I’ve not been strong enough to walk away completely. I’m still waiting. Hoping. Referring to him as my fucking boyfriend 😂 I know he loves me, he just needs to remember how to feel again. Until then, I’m not taking my oxygen mask off. I need to breathe and survive and function and not panic that somebody else may suffocate when they have the power to make the same decisions I do.

We can all put on our own oxygen masks.

We’re fucking grown ups.